Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brian Brown Celebrates Virginia Stay

"We are pleased that the US Supreme Court has put a halt to the decision in Virginia redefining marriage in violation of the state’s marriage amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters. We had called upon the Court to take this step and are gratified that they will now be able to carefully consider the issues. This is another indication that the rush to judgment declaring marriage to be unconstitutional is not only premature, but incorrect. The US Supreme Court has determined that states have the right to define marriage and we remain confident that they will uphold all the various traditional marriage laws and constitutional amendments that have been wrongly invalidated by federal judges. We look forward to the US Supreme Court taking one or more of the three marriage cases now pending before them, and ultimately ruling that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is entirely constitutional." - Hate group leader Brian Brown, via press release.

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Matthew Conner: How Is July Already Over

Clip description:
Focusing on the rise and fall of a promising relationship, the video follows Matthew Connor's character as he tears himself apart by remembering all the places where he and his ex-lover (portrayed by actor Hunter Canning) fell in love. Shot in black and white stop-motion and directed by photographer Marc McAndrews, 4,000 frames (out of a total 21,000 taken during production) appear in the final cut of the video and create a vintage effect, helping to emphasize the song's nature of longing for days past.
An unusual retro style. I like it.

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LGBT Groups React To Virginia Stay

Equality Virginia
It is disappointing that the Supreme Court stayed the 4th Circuit Court’s decision.  Lesbian and gay Virginians have waited long enough for the freedom to marry. Loving couples – and families – should not have to endure yet another standstill before their commitment to one another is recognized here in Virginia. Every day that this ruling is stayed, more lesbian and gay Virginians will suffer undue harm as they wait to insure their spouses, wait to adopt the children they are raising, and wait to have their relationships affirmed by the Commonwealth. Equality Virginia urges the Supreme Court to take this case as soon as possible and hopes that it will rule once and for all in favor of marriage equality.
AFER
In light of the stay, lawyers for the Bostic plaintiffs intend to file a response in support of the Commonwealth’s petition to urge the Supreme Court to review the Bostic case and resolve the incredibly important question it presents. Never before have federal courts across this country so swiftly, convincingly, and unanimously come to the same conclusion on an imperative constitutional question as they have when presented with the issue of marriage equality. The federal court system agrees, the majority of Americans agree, and the President of the United States agrees that it is time this country treats its same-sex couples and their children just the same as all other loving families. We are confident that when the Supreme Court reviews the Bostic case, it too will agree and end the flagrant injustice of segregating Americans based on sexual orientation.
Lambda Legal
Today, Chief Justice Roberts granted a motion to stay the freedom to marry for all Virginians achieved through a victory in Bostic v. Rainey. For now, same-sex couples like our clients Joanne Harris and Jessica Duff are once again denied the freedom to marry in Virginia and Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd’s marriage remains unrecognized where they live. Because the Court decided to grant the stay, we hope the case is accepted for full review as quickly as possible in order to minimize the harm that would be caused by the delay of the Fourth Circuit decision. Lambda Legal will do everything in our power to make sure this issue is decided as quickly as possible so same-sex couples can marry in Virginia.
Freedom To Marry
This Supreme Court’s stay of yet another freedom to marry ruling underscores the urgency of the Court’s granting a full review and bringing the country to national resolution by next year. Americans across the country are being deprived of the freedom to marry and respect for their lawful marriages, as well as the tangible protections and precious dignity and happiness that marriage brings. It is time for the Supreme Court to affirm what more than thirty courts have held in the past year: marriage discrimination violates the Constitution, harms families, and is unworthy of America.
ACLU Of Virginia
We are disappointed that the 14,000 couples we represent in Virginia will have to continue to wait to exercise their fundamental right to marry, or to have their marriages recognized in Virginia. Until the Supreme Court rules on marriage equality, many gay and lesbian Virginians will live without legal recognition of their relationships with their children, access to their spouse’s health insurance benefits, the ability to make medical decisions for their spouse, and countless other rights that other married couples take for granted. We hope that the Supreme Court will decide this case as quickly as possible so that families will not have to wait any longer than necessary to exercise these rights.

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FRC Cheers Virginia Stay Continuance

Via press release from the FRC:
The Fourth Circuit erred when it struck down the decision of the people of Virginia to define marriage as it has been understood for ages: as being between one man and one woman. Today, the Supreme Court put a hold on the Fourth Circuit ruling, allowing Virginia's law to continue to be enforced while the Fourth Circuit's opinion is appealed. We are glad that the Court saw the wisdom of slowing down the judicial process in this instance so that marriages will not be entered into that would later have to be nullified. Such irresponsible mayhem has been witnessed in Utah, and it resulted in legal chaos for state residents and state officials. Despite court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage, we remain optimistic that other Circuits will rule in favor of the right of states to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The consequences of redefining marriage are immeasurable. All Americans should hope, but, more importantly, fervently pray that the United States Supreme Court upholds the rule of law and allows voter-backed marriage amendments to stand.

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WATCH: Fayetteville Mayor Passionately Urges Passage Of LGBT Rights Bill

After nearly ten hours of often ugly and often heartbreaking public testimony, at 3:30am this morning Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan set up the final city council vote with the below passionate plea for the passage of his city's LGBT rights ordinance. Watch this and feel good about the south. Watch this and feel hope.

(Tipped by JMG reader Hog Fan)

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ADF Cheers Virginia Stay Continuance

"Virginians deserve an orderly and fair resolution to the question of whether they will remain free to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws. By granting our request to place a hold on the 4th Circuit’s decision, the Supreme Court is making clear, as it already did in the Utah marriage case, that it believes a dignified process is better than disorder. The Supreme Court acted wisely in restraining the lower court from implementing a ruling of this magnitude before the high court has a chance to decide the issue.." - Byron Babione, senior counsel for the viciously anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom, via press release.

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BREAKING: Full SCOTUS Continues Stay On Virginia Same-Sex Marriages

And of course they had to drag it down to the wire.

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Tweet Of The Day - John Stemberger

Florida hate group leader and fly champagne Lexus owner John Stemberger is referring to Bizzle, the rapper who was so outraged by the weddings at this year's Grammys that he issued a parody of Macklemore's Same Love in which he compared homosexuality to pedophilia and mental retardation with a bonus reference to Down Syndrome for extra Christian Love points. Courageous and godly! Praise! Glory! By the way, this week the National Black Justice Coalition denounced Stemberger for saying that America's inner cities have a "barbarian society." One wonders if Bizzle would mind that characterization. And the hypocrisy of posing on Lexus with a shirt that says "God Over Money" is really laughable. (Tipped by JMG reader Erik)

RELATED: Last month Stemberger declared that the fight against same-sex marriage "is worth dying for."

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Rabbit Season

Animal rights activists are furious with Whole Foods over the plan to begin selling rabbit meat.
On Sunday, rabbit-lovers organized a national day of action to draw attention to the production and sale of rabbit meat at the grocery chain, warning that dogs and cats could be slaughtered for meat next and accusing Whole Foods of being “bunny butchers.” Proving that virtually everything has an advocacy organization, the House Rabbit Society helped design leaflets adorned with adorable bunny pictures for protesters. And one petition asking Whole Foods to stop selling rabbit meat already has more than 13,000 supporters. For its part, Whole Foods has said its pilot program was launched after a four-year process to design a system of rabbit-slaughtering that maintains high standards of animal welfare. 
A spokesman for Whole Foods says that they are sensitive to the "companion animal issue" and are only responding to requests from customers.

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President Obama Denounces ISIS Murder Of American Journalist James Foley

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ITALY: Archbishop Says Proposed Hate Speech Law Harkens Back To Fascism

According to Archbishop Luigi Negri, Italy's proposed anti-homophobia hate speech law will drag his nation back to the days of Mussolini. 
The archbishop warned that the bill which proposes to criminalize "homophobia," will introduce "for the first time since the end of fascism 70 years ago, a crime of opinion that evokes the dark and troubled times, long subdued and always believed to be over, of state ideologies. "Times in which the State identified ideological positions which it forcibly imposed, and suppressed all those which did not match," he added. "In defending a certain lifestyle and its supporters, but especially those who theoretically profess homosexuality and practice it in society, the state discriminates in a serious and irreparable manner against other opinions and lifestyles," said the archbishop. "Our people risk losing the fundamental freedom of expression, freedom of choices, options, views and conceptions of life that make up the core of the experience of the people," Negri told the weekly magazine Tempi.
Negri claims that merely quoting from the Bible will result in priests and bishops being "dragged before the authorities."

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Robert Stacy McCain: Lesbians Are The REAL Danger To American Culture

"While much conservative criticism of the gay-rights movement has focused on male homosexuals, however, few conservatives noticed that lesbians actually bring greater ideological resources to the battlefields of the Culture War. They are both gay and women and, in terms of the Competitive Victimhood Derby that is modern progressivism, this places lesbians in a position to claim that they are suffering from double discrimination. Because feminism has always been a movement of the political Left, and because the Left is fanatically committed to gay rights, no woman who considers herself a feminist would dare disparage the militant lesbians who increasingly dominate the official institutions of feminism. Heterosexual women concerned about workplace harassment or abortion rights might not publicly lock arms in solidarity with lesbian radicals. The 'mainstream' feminist may quietly ignore the angry dykes ranting about the heteronormative patriarchy. Yet no woman could hope to maintain her status as a feminist if she were to publicly denounce the academic radicals who relentlessly strive to teach girls that lesbianism is the feminist ideal. - Robert Stacy McCain, writing for BarbWire.

RELATED: According to the SPLC, McCain was once a member of a white supremacist group called the League Of The South.

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Viral Video Of The Day

2.2M views for this 2014 Emmy Awards promo clip.

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INDIANA: Federal Court Rules State Must Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages

Via press release from the HRC:
On Tuesday U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young ruled in Bowling v. Pence that Indiana’s law prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions is unconstitutional. The decision was stayed, pending an appeal. Judge Young previously struck down the state’s marriage ban in a ruling on a case known as Baskin v. Bogan, which was consolidated with two other cases for an appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit in that case will hear arguments on Tuesday of next week. “Where you live should never determine your ability to have your marriage recognized,” said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “These discriminatory bans only serve to harm LGBT families, and they should be erased from our nation’s laws once and for all.”

In his previous ruling in the Baskin case striking down the state’s marriage ban, Judge Young ruled that Indiana Governor Mike Pence was not a proper defendant in these marriage cases, as he did not have the authority to permit or deny marriage rights under the law. Hundreds of couples across the state began marrying until the Seventh Circuit stayed the ruling following a request from the state. Gov. Pence later announced the state would not be recognizing the same-sex marriages that took place during that window. With Judge Young’s latest ruling last night, he has reversed course. He writes, “The court, after witnessing the Governor do what he claimed he could not do, reverses course and finds him to be a proper party to such lawsuits. The court wishes to reiterate that it finds the Governor’s prior representations contradicting such authority to be, at a minimum, troubling.”
Yesterday's ruling was the 20th consecutive pro-marriage decision by a federal court.

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Today On Matt Barber's Site

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IRELAND: Straight Couple Reflects On "Armagayddon" In Hilarious Marriage PSA

It's "somewhere in Ireland, 2017" and a straight couple has barricaded themselves in their home because of the "armagayddon" wrought by same-sex marriage. Watch every hilarious second of this.

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Former NOM Official: It's Over, Same-Sex Marriage Will Be Legal Nationwide In 2015

Jeremy Hooper writes at Good As You:
From 2008–2013, some of the most crucial years of the marriage equality fight, Jennifer Roback Morse was on the front lines, serving first as a Proposition 8 spokesperson and then in a six-figure, senior role with the National Organization For Marriage's Education Fund. And during that time, she said all kinds of strange and hostile things in hopes of helping NOM stop the fair and right thing. She's now stopped trying. In her most pointed comments on the subject yet, Morse is now declaring, without qualification, that America will have fifty-state marriage equality by next year.

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Focus On The Family: New York Wedding Venue Is Under Gay Home Invasion

As I reported yesterday, the Liberty Ridge wedding venue in upstate New York has been fined $13,000 for turning away a gay couple. According to Focus On The Family, this constitutes a "home invasion" by them horrible gays because the owners live on the third floor of the joint.

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Local Haters Have The Fayetteville Sadz

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Kemar Jewel - Voguing Train

I can't get over how clean Philly's subway is.

(Tipped by JMG reader Ed)

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Freep This Virginia Poll

The poll is here. Today is the day for Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to give us the decision or do nothing and allow the stay to expire. In the unlikely event that the stay is not continued, marriages commence tomorrow morning.
At courthouses across the commonwealth, more than 60 clergy will stand ready on Thursday to perform ceremonies as soon as licenses are issued. If the Supreme Court does not issue a stay, the state's vital records department and supreme court plan to electronically send out marriage applications and licenses to circuit court clerks Wednesday afternoon, said Brian Coy, press secretary for Gov. Terry McAuliffe. "There are a lot of questions as far as the administrative aspects go," Coy said. "We're working on getting ready." The draft version changes "bride" and "groom" to "spouse," said Tina Sinnen, clerk of the Virginia Beach Circuit Court. But it's not final, and clerks have been warned it still may change. If the city's vendor who supplies such documents can't get new ones done in time, Sinnen said she may have to rely on the one computer in her office that can access the new forms in the state supreme court's computer system. That could mean a slower process and longer lines, she warned. "We're doing the best we can, and we hope people are patient," said Sinnen, who also is president of the Virginia Circuit Clerk's Association. "We think they will be. They've waited a long time for this to come to fruition. What's another 30 minutes?"
(Tipped by JMG reader Tom)

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LIVE VIDEO: Fayetteville City Council Considers LGBT Rights Ordinance
UPDATE: Bill PASSES By 6-2 Vote!

Watch it live right now. (Tipped by JMG reader Brandon)

UPDATE: A council member has already introduced an amendment that would force the ordinance to a public vote.

UPDATE II: After more than ten hours of debate and often VERY ugly public comments, very early this morning the Fayetteville City Council approved an LGBT rights ordinance by a 6-2 vote. This win is especially satisfying, coming as it does after three successive setbacks in Chattanooga, Baton Rouge, and Billings.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#Smugshot

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IDAHO: Ninth Circuit Court Denies En Banc Hearing Of Marriage Ban Overturn

Via Equality On Trial:
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Idaho’s request to hear Latta v. Otter, the challenge to the state’s same-sex marriage ban, with a panel of eleven judges. The state asked the court for an initial en banc hearing; in most circuit courts, that would mean all of the judges in the circuit, but since the Ninth Circuit is so large, en banc review consists of a panel of eleven judges. Latta will be heard on September 8 along with cases from Hawaii and Nevada. Each side in the Idaho case will have 30 minutes, while each side in the Nevada case, Sevcik v. Sandoval, will have 15 minutes, and each side in Jackson v. Abercrombie, the Hawaii case, will have 10 minutes.

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Happening Right Now In Texas...

Details.

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LOS ANGELES: Couple Tried For Killing "Gay Acting" Eight Year-Old Son

In a case that mirrors a similarly tragic outcome earlier this year in Oregon, a Los Angeles couple is being tried for viciously abusing and murdering the mother's eight year-old son after taunting him for playing with dolls. You may not want to read any further.
Before 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was allegedly beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend, they doused him with pepper spray, forced him to eat his own vomit and locked him in a cabinet with a sock stuffed in his mouth to muffle his screams, according to court records made public Monday. Sworn grand jury testimony provided a graphic examination of the abuse that the Antelope Valley boy allegedly suffered before his death in May of 2013. The incident prompted calls for sweeping reforms to the troubled Los Angeles County foster-care system because child welfare workers failed to remove the boy. Officials have taken steps to fire two social workers and two supervisors, while others involved in the case received letters of warning or reprimand. Fernandez and Aguirre deliberately tortured the boy to death, hiding their tracks with forged doctor's notes and lies to authorities, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jonathan Hatami told the grand jury. "For eight straight months, he was abused, beaten and tortured more severely than many prisoners of war," Hatami said. The abuse worsened in the months leading up to Gabriel's death, according to testimony from two of his siblings, both of whom are minors. They said Gabriel was forced to eat cat feces, rotten spinach and his own vomit. He slept in a locked cabinet and wasn't let out to go to the bathroom. Fernandez and Aguirre called Gabriel gay, punished him when he played with dolls and forced him to wear girls' clothes to school, the siblings said.
Gabriel had written a suicide note, but child welfare authorities reportedly "dismissed" that information because the note contained "no specific plan" for him to kill himself. (Tipped by JMG reader Dennis)

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AG Pam Bondi: Gay Floridians Should Just Stay In Limbo Until SCOTUS Rules

Earlier this month Florida AG Pam Bondi told a state appeals court to sit on its marriage cases without ruling and without kicking them upstairs to the state Supreme Court. Today she told reporters that it doesn't make sense for Florida to move towards legalizing marriage right now because other states have cases pending before SCOTUS. Four separate Florida county courts have ruled in favor of marriage equality in recent weeks, but Bondi is keeping those rulings in indefinite limbo.

(Via Good As You)

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Department Of Labor Vows To Enforce Transgender Anti-Discrimination Rules

From Patricia Shiu, director of the Office Of Federal Contract Compliance Programs:
The federal government holds contracts with about 200,000 establishments, and these contractors and subcontractors play an important role in making our country work. They provide food, clothing, energy, transportation, medical treatment and thousands of essential services all around the country. As the director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, I oversee the agency that enforces laws that prohibit these employers from discriminating in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, status as a protected veteran or sex.

Today, we issued guidance clarifying that sex discrimination extends to gender identity and transgender status. This follows an announcement Secretary Perez made in June that the department is updating enforcement protocols and anti-discrimination guidance to clarify that we provide the full protection of the federal non-discrimination laws that we enforce to transgender individuals. And it follows President Obama's signing of Executive Order 13672 adding sexual orientation and gender identity as independent categories protected by Executive Order 11246, which OFCCP enforces.

So what does this mean? It means honoring our commitment to upholding equality in America's workforce. Being entrusted with taxpayer dollars is a privilege, and with that privilege comes a promise to open doors to all of America's workers. I believe that success for OFCCP and for federal contractors isn't simply about compliance. It's about creating a workplace culture that actively embraces diversity. Inclusiveness isn't just good for workers; it's smart for business. When employees can work without fear, when they can comfortably bring their whole selves to the job, companies benefit from the diverse perspectives and enthusiasm those workers bring to the job.
The image above illustrates Shiu's press release.

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Supreme Court Haiku

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Pat Robertson: When Faith Healing Fails, It's Because People "Enjoy Their Sickness"

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Smithsonian Adds LGBT History Items

Via the Associated Press:
Hundreds of photographs, papers and historical objects documenting the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are being added to the Smithsonian Institution's collection Tuesday, including items from the popular TV show "Will and Grace." Show creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick along with NBC are donating objects to the National Museum of American History. The collection includes original scripts, casting ideas, political memorabilia surrounding the show and the series finale. The network agreed to donate props, including a pill bottle and flask, a sign from "Grace Adler Interior Design" and Will Truman's framed college diploma.  The donation is part of larger effort to document gay and lesbian history, an area that has not been well understood at the museum. Curators are collecting materials from LGBT political, sports and cultural history objects from Arizona to Maryland. Some items being donated include the diplomatic passports of Ambassador David Huebner, the first openly gay U.S. ambassador confirmed by the Senate, and his husband; materials from a gay community center in Baltimore; and photography collections from Patsy Lynch and Silvia Ros documenting gay rights activism.
Other items in the collection include a tennis racket from Renee Richards, who won a landmark court battle after being barred from competing in the 1975 US Open.

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Lady Gaga And Tony Bennett:
I Can't Give You Anything But Love

Another track from their coming duets album. From the press materials:
Cheek To Cheek features classic jazz standards sung by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett in a combination of vocal duets and solo performances. From the title track to “But Beautiful” to “I Won’t Dance,” the record’s duets showcase the chemistry between the two artists, who span 60 years in age. As Bennett says, “What I really love about being a jazz singer is that jazz artists are very creative, very honest, from phrase to phrase” and Lady Gaga adds, “We wanted to make something that sounded perfect because of the quality of the emotion…the honesty.” Cheek To Cheek also features the Lady Gaga solo, “Lush Life,” accompanied by Tony Bennett’s solo of “Sophisticated Lady.” The two songs complement each other, as Lady Gaga explains, “I loved making ‘Lush Life,’ Tony mentored me emotionally through the process,” and Tony Bennett adds, “I sang ‘Sophisticated Lady’ to answer her on ‘Lush Life,’ and because Duke Ellington wrote it, who collaborated with Billy Strayhorn, the writer of ‘Lush Life.’”
On October 24th, PBS will air a special on Cheek To Cheek that was taped at Lincoln Center.

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Kluwe Settles With Minnesota Vikings

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TRAILER: The Remaining

A rapture/horror film. "There are fates worse than death."

(Via Christian Nightmares)

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Ben Carson Prays For Rick Perry

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New From House Candidate Sean Eldridge

A former Freedom To Marry staffer, Eldridge is the husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes. He faces two-term Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), whose first act after being elected was to vote for the repeal of Obamacare. Eldridge is challenging the result of a recent poll which shows him trailing badly.
“I think people are frustrated with this Congress,” Eldridge said. “I don’t think people are happy. What I think voters don’t want is to sue the president and waster taxpayer dollars on that ... We have to do better than the least productive Congress in the country.” He also questioned opinion polling, commissioned by the United Transportation Union, that showed Gibson ahead by 27 points (56 to 29), as of Thursday. On Thursday, Gibson tweeted that a, “New independent poll has me up big over Sean Eldridge. We’ll keep working hard to win a decisive victory in November.” The United Transportation Union had donated $7,500 to the Gibson campaign for the current election cycle, and another $7,500 two years ago. “... If you have a poll being done by an organization that’s donated to a candidate, I think that makes it less independent,” Eldridge said.
Elridge's just-released ad is below.

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TENNESSEE: Hate Groups To Hold "Moral Revolution" Convention On Marriage

A coalition of anti-gay groups will hold a convention in Nashville to plot the next stages of their opposition to same-sex marriage.
The ERLC National Conference will address “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage” to equip Christians to apply the gospel on these issues with convictional kindness in their communities, their families and their churches. This event will be held at the iconic Opryland Hotel on October 27-29, 2014. Are you and your church prepared for the moral revolution surrounding homosexuality and same-sex marriage happening across America? While human sexuality and social institutions are being redefined before our very eyes, the Bible presents marriage as an unchanging picture of the gospel through the union of one man and one woman. The gospel announces that the story of Jesus is greater than the sum total of our sexual desires.
Among the event's sponsors are Alliance Defending Freedom, Focus On The Family, Concerned Women For America, Christianity Today, numerous Christian colleges, and the Manhattan Declaration, whose signees vow to disobey laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination. The event's title host is the Southern Baptists Convention.

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Headline Of The Day

Details.

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God Vs Westboro

Via Gay Star News:
The brain behind Facebook’s popular ‘God’ humor page has crowdfunded over $40,000 in a campaign to erect pro-gay billboards in the home town of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. ‘God’s’ followers pledged the funds in just ten days, and ‘God’ now plans to buy more billboards with the message that ‘God loves gays’ in other parts of the United States if he can raise further funds. Supporters will be rewarded with bumper stickers, limited edition t-shirts and posters saying ‘God loves gay’ signed by ‘God’ himself. Around 1,200 people pledged to fund the campaign with donations of between $1 and $75 for the total package of rewards. God announced yesterday that he had booked the first billboard and that it will be erected in Topeka, Kansas on 8 September.
This is a different God than the one on Twitter. The crowdfunding page is here. Below is the promo clip that went up last week.

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NEW YORK: Upstate Wedding Venue Fined For Refusing Same-Sex Ceremony

Via Gay City News:
The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) has found that a rural wedding venue that denied a lesbian couple use of its facility violated the state’s Human Rights Law. In the August 8 ruling –– first reported in the Albany Times Union –– Acting Commissioner Helen Diane Foster formally adopted a recommendation by Migdalia Pares, an administrative law judge, that the two women receive $1,500 each in compensatory damages and the venue, Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, located between Albany and Saratoga Springs, pay the state a fine of $10,000.

In 2012, seeking a rustic setting for their marriage, the couple, Melisa and Jennifer McCarthy, contacted Liberty Ridge, which advertises online as a wedding venue. In a telephone conversation, Cynthia Gifford, a co-owner, initially encouraged Melissa to visit the facility. According to the DHR ruling, however, when Melissa referred to her fiancé, who was listening in on to the call as well, as “she,” Gifford told her there was “a little bit of a problem” because “we do not hold same-sex marriages here at the barn.”

When Melissa challenged the legality of Liberty Ridge’s policy, Gifford responded, “We are a private business.” Pressed to explain why the venue had the policy, Gifford responded, “It’s a decision that my husband and I have made that that’s not what we wanted to have on the farm.” Answering the couple’s discrimination claim, the Giffords contended they have a “specific religious belief regarding marriage.”
The attorney for Liberty Ridge says that he was surprised that the venue did not get an exemption from state law under Hobby Lobby. An appeal is being considered.

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From The GOP: Senate Democrats Are Pretending That They Aren't Democrats

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FRC VP Peter Sprigg: "Ex-Gay" Torture Should Be Legal Because Robin Williams

"If we were to apply the same standards to drug and alcohol rehabilitation that the homosexual activists want to apply to reorientation therapy, why not ban rehab? After all, since some people go to rehab and still suffer relapses afterwards, rehab is clearly 'ineffective.' Robin Williams actually went to rehab, and shortly thereafter took his own life. Does that not clearly indicate that rehab is not only ineffective, but downright harmful? In addition, there are surely people who consume alcohol or use illicit drugs but are still able to function and make productive contributions to society — so there is obviously nothing inherently wrong with alcohol or drugs. Allowing people who struggle with their alcohol or drug use to seek professional help to discontinue them implies there is something wrong with them — thus reinforcing the unfair social stigma which attaches to people who use alcohol and drugs. And surely 'family intervention' to force someone into rehab is a violation of their personal autonomy. In light of all these concerns, how can we allow the fraud of  'rehab' to continue?" - Peter Sprigg, writing for the Family Research Council's blog.

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Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

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VIRGINIA: AG Mark Herring Ask SCOTUS To Continue Stay On Same-Sex Marriages

Via the Washington Post:
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) told the Supreme Court on Monday that it should put on hold a lower court’s order that same-sex couples in the state be allowed to marry, beginning this week. Herring said that he agrees with the panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that struck Virginia’s ban as unconstitutional, but that it is better for the Supreme Court to delay the marriages and immediately accept the case for review. “Although it is painful to keep Virginia’s same-sex couples and their children waiting any longer to enjoy the rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, the rule of law requires that this court be afforded the time needed to settle the question,” Herring wrote in a filing to the court. The groups representing those challenging the ban said the court should not step in to stop the marriages, which would commence Thursday without Supreme Court intervention.
AFER, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU, who represent the plaintiffs, have not yet responded to Herring's move. Yesterday all three issued briefs opposing any continuance of the stay.

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Announcer Don Pardo Dies At Age 96

Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo has died at the age of 96.
Pardo died peacefully at his home in Tucson, Arizona, where he moved after retiring from SNL in 2006, said his daughter, Dona Pardo. Creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels asked him to continue with the show, and for many weeks he recorded his introductions from his Tucson home, she said. Those introductions and his voice were so distinctive that longtime fans of the late-night sketch comedy series immediately noticed when he missed the opening of the March 2, 2013 episode; it was later reported that he had suffered a broken hip. Pardo, who began his career at NBC Radio in 1940 and switched to television in the 1950s, worked as an announcer on numerous game shows including The Price is Right and the original Jeopardy! in the mid-1960s. He was Jeopardy!'s announcer from 1964 until the original version, with host Art Fleming, ended in 1975. A decade later, in 1975, he turned to late night work, becoming the voice over announcer for the hit comedy series Saturday Night Live.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

American Family Association: All Gays Should Be Banned From Holding Office

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ARKANSAS: Tomorrow In Fayetteville

We could use a win after Baton Rouge and Billings. Arkansas readers, do what you can. (Tipped by JMG reader Brandon)

UPDATE: Human clown car Michelle Duggar is robocalling Fayettville voters. The text of her call:
Hello, this is Michelle Duggar. I’m calling to inform you of some shocking news that would affect the safety of Northwest Arkansas women and children. The Fayetteville City Council is voting on an ordinance this Tuesday night that would allow men – yes I said men – to use womens and girls restrooms, locker rooms, showers, sleeping areas and other areas that are designated for females only. I don’t believe the citizens of Fayetteville would want males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls. I doubt that Fayetteville parents would stand for a law that would endanger their daughters or allow them to be traumatized by a man joining them in their private space. We should never place the preference of an adult over the safety and innocence of a child. Parents, who do you want undressing next to your daughter at the public swimming pool’s private changing area? I still believe that we are a society that puts women and children first. Women, young ladies and little girls deserve to use the restroom or any other facility in peace and safety. Will you speak up for protecting women and children? Call 575-8330 and tell the Fayetteville City Council members and Mayor Jordan to vote ‘no’ on ordinance 119. The number again is 575-8330. For more information please go to www.freefayetteville.org. Paid for by freefayetteville.org.

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VIRGINIA: AFER Tells SCOTUS Not To Continue Stay On Same-Sex Marriages

Via press release:
Today, lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Bostic case responded to a petition by defendants seeking a stay of the United States Circuit Court for the Fourth Circuit’s decision that found Virginia’s marriage ban unconstitutional by urging the Supreme Court not to delay the issuance of marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Virginia. The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the primary sponsor of the Bostic case.

“Virginia’s exclusion of gays and lesbians from the fundamental right to marriage causes painful, irreparable, and immeasurable injury to large numbers of its citizens every day and every moment it remains in existence, and humiliates and stigmatizes these individuals and their children in ways too numerous to enumerate,” said Ted Olson, lead co-counsel for the Bostic plaintiffs. “Courts all over the country are overwhelmingly and with an unprecedented degree of unanimity recognizing that there is no legal basis for continuing to impose this kind of harm on our fellow citizens. There is no justification for staying the effect of the Fourth Circuit’s decision upholding the rights of Virginians to marry the person they love.”

Prince William County Clerk Michèle McQuigg filed her petition to stay the Fourth Circuit Court’s mandate on Thursday, August 14, 2014. Should Chief Justice Roberts, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice responsible for emergency petitions made within the Fourth Circuit, deny the stay request, marriages for gay and lesbian couples would be set to begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, August 21, 2014.
And now we wait.

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NIGERIA: Multimillionaire Pastor Sends Planeload Of "Holy Water" To Cure Ebola

Multimillionaire faith-healer T.B. Joshua has sent a planeload of "holy water" to Sierra Leone because it will cure ebola. Via Vocative:
Sierra Leone just got a big gift from a strange man. To help the West African country fight the escalating Ebola crisis, Nigerian Christian preacher Temitope Joshua says he has sent the Sierra Leone government 4,000 bottles of his patented holy anointed water and $50,000 in cash in a private jet, which also cost $50,000 to charter. Sierra Leone will, one would assume, take every penny it can get to stem the Ebola outbreak, which has claimed more than 1,000 lives worldwide, with the majority of the victims in West African countries. Such odd largess does certainly beg the question, though: Who the hell is this guy? For starters, Joshua is a millionaire. Forbes reported that with an estimated net worth of $10 million to $15 million, Joshua is one of the richest pastors in Nigeria. He’s also one the most controversial. He’s the founder and head of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), and has been dubbed a prophet by some. Joshua has claimed for years that he has healing powers that can tackle a myriad of incurable diseases such as cancer and HIV—and that he can peek into the future.
Hemant Mehta weighs in at Friendly Atheist:
This isn’t just ineffective, it’s harmful. It’s possible that people suffering from the disease — who need to be quarantined and given whatever scientific treatment options are available — could “anoint” themselves with the water, wrongly think they’re cured, and then go out in public again, spreading the virus even further. I never thought I’d say this, but Joshua would be doing more for Ebola patients by praying for them, only because it would have no effect on them whatsoever.
PREVIOUSLY ON JMG:  Four people were killed in Ghana in 2013 in a church stampede to get "AIDS-curing holy water" from T.B. Joshua. In 2011, three women died in London after pastors from Joshua's church convinced them to throw away their HIV medications.

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KENTUCKY: Creationist Ark Encounter Theme Park Wants Public Money But Non-Christians Can't Work There

On the same day that the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority gave its preliminary approval for $18 million in tax incentives for the proposed Ark Encounter theme park, its backers at Answers In Genesis posted a help wanted ad which makes it very clear that non-Christians need not apply. And many actual Christians shouldn't either. From an op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader:
When Ark Encounter was originally approved for much larger tax incentives they were required not to discriminate in hiring. However, it is apparent that Ark Encounter is likely to discriminate against non-Christians. Moreover, Catholics, mainstream Protestant Christians and some conservative Christians who have different doctrinal beliefs are also unlikely to be hired. The ad has specific religious requirements for employment. These include a salvation testimony, a "creation belief statement" and a requirement that applicants agree with the organization's "statement of faith." This required statement includes articles that imply that fundamentalist Christianity is the only acceptable religion and that denigrate non-Christians, non-fundamentalist Christians, and homosexuals (regardless of their theological views). The governor, tourism secretary, and various Grant County officials claim the granting of tax incentives is about jobs for the area. However, even in such a religiously conservative area as Grant County and Williamstown, many people will not be eligible for employment. I suspect that even [Gov. Steve] Beshear would not be eligible for a minimum-wage position selling corn dogs.
The author of the above-linked piece is the president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society.

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Jordan Windle, Teen Athlete With Gay Dads, Wins Men's National Diving Title

ESPN reports:
Jordan Windle is a national champion diver before he's old enough to be a licensed driver. Windle, who doesn't turn 16 until November, convincingly won the men's 10-meter title with 527.8 points Sunday to cap the final day of the U.S. national diving championships. Windle exceeded 90 points on each of his first three dives. He started his day by earning 103.6 points on a forward 4½-somersault tuck. That was the only 100-point dive by anyone in the six-day event. "It definitely boosted my confidence," Windle said. "From there on, my coach was really excited for me and just told me to have fun and stuff. That's what I did through the whole event." This is the latest chapter in Windle's compelling rise. Windle was born in Cambodia and was placed in an orphanage as a baby after his parents died. He was adopted as an 18-month-old and moved to the United States. He now lives in Morrisville, North Carolina.
Windle, who posted an It Gets Better video in 2011, was the grand marshal of an Indiana gay pride event in 2012 when he was just 13 years old. His website catalogs his life with his dads and his ambition to dive for the United States at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. And if that's not enough, he's authored a children's book about adoption. Titled An Orphan No More, the foreword is by Greg Louganis. (Tipped by JMG reader Jan)

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Where The Bears Are, Season 3, Ep. 3

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VIRGINIA: Plaintiffs To Tell SCOTUS Not To Continue Same-Sex Marriage Stay

On Friday, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts announced a 5PM today deadline for Virginia's marriage plaintiffs to respond to the stay continuance demand made last week by the Alliance Defending Freedom. Via press release:
Today, Lambda Legal, the ACLU and ACLU of Virginia will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the motion filed Thursday by Prince William County Clerk Michèle McQuigg seeking to stay the recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Schaefer v. Bostic striking down Virginia’s discriminatory marriage ban. The organizations also will request that, if the Court decides to grant the stay, it should accept the case for full review as quickly as possible in order to minimize the harm that would be caused by the delay of the Fourth Circuit decision. "We will fight these last-ditch desperate attempts to delay the inevitable arrival of the day when same-sex couples can marry in Virginia,” Jon Davidson, Legal Director at Lambda Legal, said. “But if the Court grants a stay, we want this issue to be decided as quickly as possible.” “The Fourth Circuit finally ruled to let us get married and we are anxious to finally plan our wedding,” said Joanne Harris, who with Jessica Duff is one of the named plaintiff couples in the lawsuit. “Jessi and I are prepared to continue to fight, but we shouldn’t have to wait any longer.”
AFER is also a party to the Bostic case so we might see a response from them as well today.

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John Oliver: Let's Take These "Fucking Toys" Away From Local Police

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Daniel Radcliffe On Self-Googling

A reporter from the Guardian talked to Daniel Radcliffe about self-Googling.
I wonder if he has ever Googled himself and seen the automatic search entries, but before I finish the question he’s started reeling them off: “Daniel Radcliffe alcoholic. Daniel Radcliffe gay. Daniel Radcliffe girlfriend,” he says, sighing as he does. Actually, I tell him, girlfriend is the top result these days. “Oh great – I’ll take that, as these things go. I’m pleased my girlfriend comes up before alcoholic or gay. When I first did that, I got really annoyed for about half a minute, until I tried a few other people’s names and I found out [gay] comes up after almost everyone if they’re a man, and even some women – Florence Welch had it, and I was like, really?” Maybe it’s a sign that a star has made it. “Probably. If people are speculating about your sexuality, then you’re doing OK,” he laughs, then says that these days he resists the temptation to self-Google as “it fucks you up. You shouldn’t be on there if you’re an actor. There’s a line in The Thick Of It – Googling yourself is like opening the door to a room full of people telling you how shit you are – and it’s exactly that. I first did it in my late teens and it was such a destructive thing for me to do.”
Radcliffe's What If is now in theaters.

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MISSOURI: Gov. Jay Nixon Orders National Guard To Respond In Ferguson

Nixon did not notify the White House of this action.
“Folks didn’t know,” an administration official told BuzzFeed Monday. “The White House did not know they were sending it in.” Nixon gave “no heads up,” the official said. President Obama is back at the White House today on a pre-scheduled break from his August vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. He’s scheduled to be briefed by Attorney General Eric Holder on the situation in Ferguson early this afternoon. Holder and the administration have been critical of the militarized response to protests in Ferguson.

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Poll: Most Republicans Would Be "Upset" If Their Child Turned Out To Be Gay

Via Talking Points Memo:
Six in 10 Republicans would be upset if they had a child who told them he or she was gay, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. Twenty-three percent of Republicans surveyed said they'd be "very upset" and 37 percent would be "upset." Just 38 percent said they'd either be "not very upset" or "not upset at all." By contrast, a total of 28 percent of Democrats would be either "very upset" or "upset" if their child came out as gay or lesbian. Seventy percent said they wouldn't be upset. Among all national adults surveyed, 35 percent said they'd be upset while 62 percent said they would not be. The findings reflect significant partisan divisions in attitudes toward gay rights amid a national sea change for gay equality. A similar poll conducted in 1985 by the Los Angeles Times found that a whopping 89 percent of adults said they'd be upset if their child was gay; just 9 percent said they'd be okay with it.
The same poll showed support for marriage equality at 54% overall. (Tipped by JMG reader DM)

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"Ex-Gay" Evacuation Plan

PFOX has issued an evacuation plan for escaping from homosexuality. Read more at Good As You.

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REPORT: Six LGBT Persons Stoned To Death By Mob In Rural Uganda

According to an as yet unconfirmed report, six LGBT persons have been stoned to death by a mob in rural Uganda. A seventh person was reportedly beaten to death. Via press release from the Safe Passage Fund:
Over the past week, Ugandan activists have reported the horrific murders of six LGBT individuals in a rural zone of the country: three gay men, two lesbians and a transperson. They were killed by stoning. One who survived (still breathing after stoning) was burnt alive using kerosene/paraffin and a match box,” stated a witness and source to the Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR), a Quaker solidarity initiative helping LGBT people in Uganda. A seventh gay man was reported to have been attacked by a mob and died a day later from head injuries. According to the source, a rural vigilante mob attacked the 28-year-old gay man in a different zone on August 5th. "I went to the scene,” wrote the eyewitness in an email. “I saved [____] when I lied to the mob that let me take him to the police." The witness stated that he was able to convince the mob he would deliver the victim to the police, but instead put him on a boda boda (motorcycle) and rescued him. The victim was later denied medical care, he alleged, because he lacked funds to pay.

Documentary evidence of the attack was provided, including pictures of the young gay man who died of his injuries on Monday, August 11th and buried two days later. Pictures provided from the scene show a young man sitting on the ground in a public street, his face and neck covered in blood. The sources have other details supporting the claim. The reports come from several Ugandan activists, including those who helped rescue the head trauma victim. The reports were shared with Olympia, Washington-based FNUR (referred to as the ‘Railroad’) and then the Safe Passage Fund, a fund set up to help LGBT victims of persecution. At press time, the names, identities, and location of the victims and the witnesses were not being publicly disclosed by the FNUR for security reasons. Several Ugandan rights groups in Kampala and researchers are launching independent investigations of the allegations. Local sources for the stonings say local radio stations in the zone have been broadcasting information about anti-gay incidents. Further investigation is underway.
Read the full press release (PDF). The Safe Passage Fund also reports that 65 people have been smuggled out of Uganda in recent days. Donations to the Safe Passage Fund can be made here.

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Tweet Of The Day

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Matt Baume: Marriage News Watch

Clip recap:
Major news in Virginia this week, where the Fourth Circuit has refused to delay marriage equality for any longer. Now anti-gay defendants have asked the US Supreme Court to step in at the last minute. A judge in Tennessee has upheld that state's marriage ban, on the basis of outdated arguments regarding procreation. And over a dozen couples successfully register marriage licenses in Mississippi during a coordinated day of action.

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Paul Singer's Super PAC To Donate $2M To Pro-Gay Marriage GOP House Candidates

Billionaire investor Paul Singer's American Unity super PAC plans to donate at least $2M to the campaigns of GOP House candidates that endorse same-sex marriage.
The group has drawn up plans to back seven congressional candidates ahead of November's elections and could add more to the roster, said Jeff Cook-McCormac, a senior adviser to American Unity PAC and its policy arm, American Unity Fund. They include incumbents such as Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican who announced his support for gay marriage in May and Richard Tisei, an openly gay Republican making his second bid for a U.S. House seat in Massachusetts. The super PAC already has spent $700,000 in a congressional primary this year to help Republican Rep. Richard Hanna beat back a Tea Party-backed challenger in upstate New York. Hanna, a two-term incumbent, backs a federal bill to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
From the American Unity website: "Every day the voices of inclusion are getting stronger in the Republican Party as our nation moves closer to the realization of full freedom and equality for gay and lesbian Americans. Help us fight for a better future for the GOP and defend the courageous Republican legislators who are standing up on the right side of history."

RELATED: It isn't mentioned in the above-linked USA Today piece, but American Unity revealed in June that they would be backing San Diego homocon Carl DeMaio, who is running against incumbent Rep. Scott Peters, a pro-gay marriage Democrat. Let's hope they've reconsidered.

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RUSSIA: Neo-Nazi Gay Basher Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For "Extremism"

Following his January extradition from Cuba, where he had fled Russian and Ukrainian authorities, notorious gay-basher Maxim Martsinkevich has been sentenced to five years in a Russian prison. Via LGBTQ Nation:
Martsinkevich was convicted of inciting and fomenting cases of extremism by posting videos on the “Vkontakte” (VK.com) social network that contained racial slurs and extremist opinions on Russia’s state of the union, however videos containing anti-gay statements and abuse were not included in the prosecutor’s case against him. Martsinkevich rose to international attention last year when his group began posting videos on VK.com and YouTube, documenting violent and homophobic harassment of men and gay youth the group claims were seeking to have sex with boys. Amid outrage by international Human Rights groups and the prosecutor’s office in what was then Sevastopol, Ukraine (which sought to arrest him for crimes against a young male adult citizen of Ukraine) Martsinkevich fled to Cuba in December 2013, but was arrested and extradited for breaking Cuban immigration law in January. Meanwhile, other members of “Occupy Paedophilia” are currently awaiting trial for their participation in anti-gay crimes. According to the prosecutor’s office in the Kamensk-Uralsky region, a court on August 8 approved the indictment in a criminal case against nine members of the group.
Bolding is mine.

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Iranian Leader Uses Ferguson To Denounce Race Relations In United States

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Exorcism Of The Day

"Casting out demons isn't easy, especially what that demon is a tough one like Jezebel - who doesn't want to give up her host!"

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What If You "Like" Everything?

A writer for Wired clicked the like button on (almost) every item in his Facebook feed for 48 hours. Here's what happened:
My News Feed took on an entirely new character in a surprisingly short amount of time. After checking in and liking a bunch of stuff over the course of an hour, there were no human beings in my feed anymore. It became about brands and messaging, rather than humans with messages. Likewise, content mills rose to the top. Nearly my entire feed was given over to Upworthy and the Huffington Post. As I went to bed that first night and scrolled through my News Feed, the updates I saw were (in order): Huffington Post, Upworthy, Huffington Post, Upworthy, a Levi’s ad, Space.com, Huffington Post, Upworthy, The Verge, Huffington Post, Space.com, Upworthy, Space.com. Also, as I went to bed, I remember thinking “Ah, crap. I have to like something about Gaza,” as I hit the Like button on a post with a pro-Israel message. By the next morning, the items in my News Feed had moved very, very far to the right. I’m offered the chance to like the 2nd Amendment and some sort of anti-immigrant page. I like them both. I like Ted Cruz. I like Rick Perry. The Conservative Tribune comes up again, and again, and again in my News Feed. As day one rolled into day two, I began dreading going to Facebook. It had become a temple of provocation. Just as my News Feed had drifted further and further right, so too did it drift further and further left. Rachel Maddow, Raw Story, Mother Jones, Daily Kos and all sort of other leftie stuff was interspersed with items that are so far to the right I’m nearly afraid to like them for fear of ending up on some sort of watch list.
The only item he declined to like was when a friend announced the death of a relative.

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